Guerreiro Solos To Portugese Under 23 Title

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By Sean Weide
25 Jun 16

Braga, Portugal - Ruben Guerreiro captured the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team's fourth national championship this season by soloing to victory Saturday at the Portugese Under 23 national road championships.

The 21-year-old celebrated his second win of the year as he coasted his Specialized S-Works Tarmac across the finish line 20 seconds ahead of Hugo Nunes (Anicolor). Last year's champion, Nuno Spout (Klein Constantia) was third, 31 seconds back.

"I was feeling really good today," Guerreiro said after riding more than 100 kilometers of the 144.9-km race in a breakaway - 50 km of it alone. "I attacked early because I was thinking that like last year, the first lap was most important. So when I saw just one guy was following, I kept going."

Guerreiro's national title adds to three others won in competition this week and last month. Greg Daniel soloed to win the U.S. professional national road championship on May 28. Wednesday, Krists Neilands won his third straight Latvian Under 23 national time trial crown and Eddie Dunbar rode to his second straight Irish Under 23 national time trial title on Friday.

In all, Axeon Hagens Berman riders have won 21 races on the season.

Guerreiro's early breakaway with José Neves (Goldwin-Team José Maria Nicolau) led to the pair enjoying a two-minute lead after 65 kilometers. But a concerted chase by the Liberty Seguros-Carglass team reeled in Guerreiro, who was now on his own, with fewer than 30 km to go.

Inside of 20 km to go, Gonçalo Carvalho (Anicolor) attacked and built a 24-second lead. But like Guerreiro, he was brought back. Then it was Guerreiro's turn to leave the pack behind again.

"I attacked in the last two kilometers," Guerreiro said. "People were thinking I was tired because I did a fairly big effort in the breakaway. But I had saved energy and was feeling strong all day."

Only 16 of 69 starters finished the race.

Guerreiro added to his already impressive results this season which include a win at G.P. Palio del Recioto in March, a pair of runner-up finishes on stages of Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc last weekend, and a third place at the Under 23 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège won by his teammate, Logan Owen.

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